A new law in Connecticut, which became effective on July 1, 2019, allows police officers, firefighters and parole officers to apply for certain workers’ compensation benefits if they are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing a distressing event in the line of duty.

Previously, such first responders were permitted to file a workers’ compensation claim for a mental health injury only when it was accompanied by a physical injury. The new law expands that coverage to such employees who have experienced one of the following: witnessing the death of a person; witnessing an injury that causes the death of a person shortly thereafter; treating an injured person who dies shortly thereafter; carrying an injured person who dies shortly thereafter; viewing a deceased minor; and witnessing an incident that causes a person to lose a body part, to suffer a loss of function or that results in permanent disfigurement.

This legislation also mandates a study of possible further expansion of such benefits to include other emergency medical responders.